How Much For A Sleeve?

Tattoo Sleeve Cost


Cory Claussen

3/1/20243 min read

tattooed woman with tattoo sleeve cost
tattooed woman with tattoo sleeve cost

How Much for a Sleeve?

When it comes to tattoo sleeves, one of the most frequent questions we receive at Red Arbor Tattoo is, "How much does a tattoo sleeve cost?" Given the complexity and personalized nature of tattoo art, this is a great question with no straight answer. In this blog post, we'll break down the key factors that influence the cost of getting a tattoo sleeve at our studio, aiming to provide you with a clearer understanding of what to expect and how to budget for your unique piece of art.

How Long?

Firstly, it's important to note the significant time investment required for tattoo sleeves. The time to tattoo a sleeve can range anywhere from a mere 2 hours to over 100 hours, not to mention the artist's preparation time, which can also vary significantly from 1 to 100 hours. This time variation is due to several factors, including the complexity of the design, the artist's working pace, and the physical canvas size—our clients' bodies.

Why Can't You Just Tell Me The Price?

The cost of a tattoo sleeve can vary dramatically, from as low as $200 to as high as $35,000. This wide range is influenced by several factors:

  • Artist Specialty and Style: The unique expertise and artistic style of the tattoo artist play a crucial role in pricing. Artists who specialize in intricate designs or specific styles may charge more for their sought-after skills.

  • Subject Matter and Details: The more detailed and complex the design, the higher the cost due to the increased time and skill required.

  • Experience of the Artist: More experienced artists, known for their exceptional work, often command higher prices.

  • Exact Body Placement: Certain areas of the body are more challenging to tattoo, potentially increasing the cost.

  • Client's Size: The physical size of the client also matters. A larger canvas means more work, possibly extending the time and cost of the tattoo.


In our area, an average tattoo sleeve might cost between $500-$600 per session, with the entire project typically spanning 5-7 sessions. These sessions are usually spaced out once a month or every other month until the tattoo sleeve is completed.

Day Rates

To assist in budgeting for a tattoo sleeve, some of our artists offer "Day Rates." This pricing model provides clients with a maximum expenditure for a day's work with the artist, allowing for more flexible planning without sacrificing the quality or scope of the tattoo design. Day rates benefit both the client and the artist, as they can help the artist focus on the art without the stress of budget constraints.


We highly recommend in-person consultations. These meetings allow our artists to examine the client's skin, discuss design ideas, and provide more accurate estimates based on the specific needs and desires of the client. Keep in mind that estimates can change over time due to various factors such as materials, artist's experience, cost of materials, and demand. Typically, tattoo estimates may only be valid for 3-6 months.


At Red Arbor Tattoo, we understand that a tattoo sleeve is a significant investment, both in terms of time and money. Our goal is to ensure that every client leaves our studio with a piece of art they love, within a budget that works for them. By considering the factors outlined above, we hope to provide a clearer picture of what to expect when planning for your tattoo sleeve. Stay tuned for more detailed posts on each of these points, where we'll dive deeper into tattoo pricing and preparation at Red Arbor Tattoo.

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